Before the advancement of the technology, the image of a person, who could crave and enjoy solitude, was always of an artist — at least, in my head. To me, a painter lost deep in his imaginary world and finding a muse for his next painting, or a singer writing an erasing the lyrics of his next song were some of the images of the ideal solitude lovers. However, the image has changed a lot, thanks to the uprising of the world of social media. Now, everybody is seeking as much alone time as they can to catch up with this entertaining world. It offers a wide range of people to talk to, an unlimited variety of topics, and an immense pool of knowledge. I can’t count the number of times, I have noticed people talking to one another with their eyes fixed on their smartphones. Earlier, not looking into the eyes of the interlocutor was considered rude and ill-mannered trait; however, today, this would not be a surprise, if a speaker was navigating his FB page, himself. So much for an interaction! As if I am the one to complain! I am the queen of distracted conversations. Half the time, I look forward to ending a discussion to get enough time to browse through my social media pages, Gmail, WordPress, Blogspot, and what not. There is one difference, though. When I am talking to outsiders, I tend to give them full attention to make an impression; however, when I am at home and talking to my family, I expect them to understand and bear my addiction. That’s just not fair. I think I need to make a change.
Anyway, the point is that the internet has sneaked into our lives with many dreams and hopes — not all of these hopes are good, though. Although we complain about increasing population all the time, we do not have time to know even 1% of our fellow travelers. I am inside a metro, it is packed with people. I choose ladies’ coach, always, due to certain reasons, which are not important in the context of this post. Anyhow, I look around and notice a common trend. Some ladies are on a call, some busy in texting, and rest are looking at their smartphones. There are a few ladies who are busy taking care of their kids and only one girl with a book in her hands. Sometimes, I have seen students completing their assignments on their way to their destination, but the adults are always staring at their phones for 99% of their journey. Technically, we are in a crowd but in our own solitary universe. I am usually the same, but when I really think about it, I wonder what am I looking for on the internet. It’s all good when I am reading a book on my phone, but my tendency to check my mail in every few minutes is scary, at times. During these addictive moments, I do not understand, what life changing discovery am I hoping to make by checking my phone all the time. But, when my husband tries to point out this flaw of mine, I would deny any early signs of net addiction every single time. Gone are the days when the first thing in the morning was to remember God; the time has come to open your eyes only after grabbing your smartphone.
We must be thankful to our beloved internet for opening the door of endless possibilities, but shouldn’t we be scared of a future, where nobody would talk at all? One fine day, I thought that I should teach my mom and dad what they can do on world wide web. The first step was to create a Gmail account, then FB page, and then set up a WhatsApp account.
After doing all that, we created a family group on WhatsApp to remain connected, always. Our intention was to be able to share pictures, text and create memories. The result is that my mom has become addicted to online shopping, sharing pictures, and checking her phone all the time. Now, the tables have turned. I and my sister beg mom to leave her phone and concentrate on our family talks. She would put down her phone for microseconds and pretend to listen. Thankfully, my dad is out of the web of the world wide web.
As far as connecting with the friends is concerned, it has been more than a year that I called any of my best friends.I would like their pictures, comment on them, and exhibit all the social media courtesies, but I would delay calling them, as much as I can. In today’s world, where online comments mean more than the actual, real-time comments, have we forgotten to actually use our words in communication?
Gradually and unintentionally, we have become participants in a race. This race is called increase your followers. The importance of followers is understandable for people who gain certain monetary profit out of it, but for most of us, this race only validates our significance in the world. If I changed my display pic an hour ago, and it has received no like or comment, then I must be looking ugly. The same picture that looked fabulous to me is now a piece of crap because my “friends” did not feel the need of liking it. Within moments, I would search for a new picture, which can grab attention. This is the story of many of my friends, who are living in a box that mean everything to them. Gradually, this box is falling into a pit of solitude, but we embrace this world because, hey, my followers are increasing and my pictures are getting likes!
P.S. This post is in response to the daily post prompt: Solitude
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